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COVID-19 Vaccine rollout for the Disability Sector

Frequently Asked Questions

Date of publication: 23 August 2021

NDS has made every effort to ensure that the information contained in this resource is correct at the time of publishing. Please submit enquiry/feedback if a link to resources on external websites is broken or a resource no longer available. NDS will continue to monitor changes and developments in the Vaccine roll-out and will update this FAQ.

Vaccine rollout

When can I get a COVID-19 vaccination?

The expanded COVID-19 vaccination program includes access for people with disability and workers in the disability sector.  

Eligible people with a disability:

  • NDIS participants aged 16 and over
  • Those who have a significant disability or underlying medical condition aged 16 and over
  • Residents living in a group home with two or more people

Eligible people working in disability:

  • Carers of NDIS participants aged 16 and over
  • Staff, carers, infrequent visitors and volunteers in a residential care setting.
  • Workers who provide in-home and community disability and aged care, including centre-based care.   

Disability services staff, volunteers, clients and their families and household members can go to any state and territory vaccination clinic in preference to onsite vaccinations and pop-up disability vaccination hubs if they are eligible.

In addition, the following are now eligible in Australia for the COVID-19 vaccine:

  • Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islander people aged 16 and over
  • Critical and high-risk workers aged 16 and over
  • Temporary visa holders aged under 40 years who are currently in Australia and have been approved for return travel to Australia through the travel exemption process.

People aged 16+ should monitor the rollout in their state or territory for updates on eligibility, which vary between jurisdictions based on their COVID-19 situation and vaccine supply and uptake. Please use the eligibility checker and stay up to date with information from your state and territory health department.

Children aged 12-15 with specific medical conditions identified to be associated with an increased risk of severe COVID-19 are now eligible for the Pfizer vaccine. 

ATAGI recommended Pfizer for children aged 12-15: 

  • With specified medical conditions that increase their risk of severe COVID-19 (including severe asthma, diabetes, obesity, cardiac and circulatory congenital anomalies, neuro developmental disorders, epilepsy, immuno-compromised and trisomy 21) 
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 12–15
  • all children aged 12–15 in remote communities, as part of broader community outreach vaccination programs that provide vaccines for all ages (≥12 years).

ATAGI will make recommendations for vaccination use in all other children in the 12–15 years age group within the coming months. For more details: ATAGI statement regarding vaccination of adolescents aged 12–15.

What vaccine will I receive?

There are two COVID-19 vaccines currently available, and both have been approved for use by meeting the strict standards for safety, quality, and efficacy of Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

  1. Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine
  2. Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine.

People 60 years and over will be offered the AstraZeneca vaccine if this will not pose an increased risk of side effects in relation to any pre-existing medical conditions

People aged 16-59 will be offered the Pfizer vaccine in line with the Australian Technical Advisory Group (ATAGI) vaccine recommendation from 17 June 2021.

This recommendation has been extended to include children aged 12-15with specified medical conditions.

Anyone in the age group identified for Pfizer, with the exception of 12-15yo, can consent to receive AstraZeneca. 

Pregnant women or those considering becoming pregnant can safely receive the Pfizer vaccine at any time during their pregnancy according to the ATAGI and RANZCOG statement released on 30 July. This also applies to women who are breastfeeding.

The decision is based on the real-world evidence showing:

  • Pfizer is safe for pregnant women and breastfeeding women
  • Pregnant women have a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19
  • Their babies also have a higher risk of being born prematurely.

COVID-19 vaccination may provide indirect protection to babies by transferring antibodies through the placenta (for pregnant women) or through breastmilk (for breastfeeding women).

COVID-19 vaccination – Shared decision-making guide for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning pregnancy | Australian Government Department of Health

Moderna Australia has been granted provisional approval for its COVID-19 vaccine—Spikevax (elasomeran) by the Therapeutic Goods Administration on 9 August 2021. Moderna is an mRNA vaccine and is recommended for anyone 18+. It will involve two doses given 28 days apart. 

COVID-19 vaccine: Spikevax (elasomeran) | Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)

Do staff or residents unable to attend the onsite clinic miss out?

Staff or residents who are not available when the in-reach vaccination team is at your site can receive vaccinations at state and territory government-run clinics, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service, GPs registered as vaccine providers or a Commonwealth dedicated disability vaccination hub.

When will the rest of the population receive a vaccination?

States and territories are rolling out the vaccines in different phases for the general population. Use the eligibility checker or check your state or territory department of health websites to see if your age group is eligible. 

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been provisionally approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for people 16 years and older.

The AstraZeneca vaccine has been provisionally approved by the TGA for people 18 years and older.

Where can I get a vaccine?

The Commonwealth Department of Health vaccine eligibility checker will direct you to vaccine providers in your area or call the National Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 020 080 to find the nearest provider with the appropriate vaccine. You can also check your state or territory Coronavirus vaccine website Links are provided at the end of the FAQs.

The Australian Government, GPs, Primary Health Networks, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service, and state and territory governments are providing a range of options for people to access a vaccination.

How can people book a COVID-19 vaccination? 

The vaccine eligibility checker provides information about eligibility and how to book, either online or by phone.

People under 60 will be directed to a vaccination provider able to give a Pfizer vaccination. This option will be dependent on supply.

People who are eligible in their state and territory can receive vaccinations at state and territory government-run clinics, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service and GPs registered as vaccine providers.

Refer to your state and territory government websites.

Are COVID-19 vaccinations free?

The COVID-19 vaccination is free to everyone living in Australia.

This includes:

  • Australian citizens, permanent residents, holders of temporary visas and those not eligible for Medicare
  • Refugees, asylum seekers, temporary protection visa holders and those on bridging visas
  • People currently in detention facilities including those whose visas have been cancelled.
  • Healthcare providers won’t charge fees to administer the vaccine. People are encouraged to ensure their Medicare card details are up to date before getting a vaccination. 

People who are not eligible for Medicare can get a free vaccine at state or territory vaccination clinics and Commonwealth vaccination clinics. If a vaccination provider charges for any costs associated with the administration of the COVID-19 vaccination (including booking fees)email your complaintto,or call the Provider Benefits Integrity Hotline on 1800 314 808 (9.00am to 5.00pm AEST weekdays).

Is there financial support to help people with a disability get a vaccination?

 A national support payment of $150 per NDIS participant is available for disability providers to assist NDIS supported independent living participants to attend offsite locations, including Commonwealth hubs, state clinics and GPs.

For providers - coronavirus (COVID-19)

Do people get proof they have received a vaccine?

People can download or print their immunisation history statement or COVID-19digital certificate through their online Medicare account or via the Express Plus Medicare mobile app.

The immunisation history statement will identify each of the two COVID-19 vaccination doses. The vaccine provider or another health professional can also be asked to print a statement of vaccination. The Services Australia website steps through how to access the immunisation statements.

If you’re not eligible for Medicare, you can still get your immunisation history statement online through myGov.

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Vaccines and their effectiveness

Is the COVID-19 vaccination compulsory?

The decision to receive a COVID-19 vaccination in Australia is voluntary.  

People with a disability who are vaccinated can ask their disability support provider to encourage their support worker to be vaccinated. If a worker chooses not to be vaccinated, the service provider will need to make alternative arrangements, including identifying another support worker.

Disability service providers or support workers who refuse to continue providing supports to a person with a disability because of their decision to receive or not receive the vaccination, may be breaching the NDIS Code of Conduct. 

Can people choose what vaccine they receive?

There are two COVID-19 vaccines available (Pfizer and AstraZeneca), and both have been approved for use by meeting the strict standards for safety, quality, and efficacy of Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

  1. Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine
  2. Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine.

A third vaccine, the Moderna Spikevax (elasomeran) has received provisional approval from the TGA. If approved by the TGA 10 million doses will arrive later in 2021 and 15 million doses of Moderna's updated variant booster vaccine in 2022.

The vaccine people will receive will depend on the clinical guidelines for the person’s age group and in relation to any pre-existing medical condition.

ATAGI recommends Pfizer as the preferred vaccine for those aged 16 to under 60 years. 

People aged 60+ will receive AstraZeneca based on the ATAGI advice that the benefit of vaccination in preventing COVID-19 with AstraZeneca outweighs the risk of the rare but potentially serious thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), and the availability of AZ.

The exceptions to this allocation are people identified in a priority group for Pfizer. 

Anyone aged 18 to 59 can choose to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine. They may need to answer a few questions related to their health and understanding of rare risks of side effects before completing their consent form or providing verbal consent.

ATAGI issued updated advice on 24 July 2021, that in an outbreak of COVID-19, particularly the DELTA strain, the benefits to anyone aged 18+ receiving AstraZeneca outweighed any risks of side effects.

See How will people know what vaccine they receive?

Individuals with concerns about the vaccine available to them are advised to discuss these with their GP to review the risks and benefits of receiving the vaccine appropriate for their age and health status. 

There is flexibility for a GP to administer a preferred vaccine to an individual if a pre-existing medical condition creates a higher risk of side effects from either vaccine.

To enquire about receiving a vaccine of choice contact the National Coronavirus Hotlineon 1800 020 080, or state or territory FAQ quick links.

Is AstraZeneca less effective than Pfizer against COVID-19?

Both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines are highly effective at stopping people from becoming very sick if they catch COVID-19.

The vaccines have been thoroughly assessed by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and found to be effective. See approval of the vaccines.

Emerging data from other parts of the world where the AstraZeneca vaccine has been received by tens of thousands of people have indicated the rate of protection increases with a longer period between the first and second dose. 

The two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine are recommended to be 12 weeks apart. The two doses of Pfizer are recommended to be three weeks apart.

During a COVID-19 outbreak, ATAGI advises the second dose of AstraZeneca can be given from four weeks, however, a 12-week interval significantly increases the effectiveness of AstraZeneca, and is recommended by ATAGI.

During a COVID-19 outbreak, ATAGI advises the second Pfizer can be postponed to six weeks. This does not impact the efficacy of the vaccine.

Easy read documents about AstraZeneca and Pfizer are available.

Additional easy read resources are listed in this FAQ in the Vaccine resources section.

Can people have the flu and COVID-19 vaccinations at the same time?

ATAGI recommends a minimum of seven days, before or after any COVID-19 Vaccine doses, and any other vaccination including the seasonal flu. ATAGI provides advice on influenza and COVID-19 vaccines.

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Vaccine hesitancy

Can COVID-19 vaccines alter my DNA?

COVID-19 vaccinesdo not alter your DNA.

The Pfizer vaccine uses a fragment of messenger RNA (mRNA) to instruct your body to make an immune response against COVID-19. 

There is a crucial difference between mRNA and DNA. 

DNA, which makes up our genetic code, is larger, double-stranded and very long. The mRNA is a single stranded copy of a small part of the DNA, which is often released to send instructions to other parts of the cell. 

DNA is stored in the protected centre of our cells – the nucleus. The mRNA is broken down quickly by the body. It never enters the nucleus and cannot affect or combine with our DNA to change our genetic code. 

COVID-19 mRNA vaccines teach the cell how to make a protein that triggers an immune response specific to COVID-19. The vaccines work with the body’s natural defences to develop immunity to disease.

What information is available for people who are unsure about having a COVID-19 vaccination?

Vaccine hesitancy is not uncommon as many people are nervous about having an injection of any kind. The vaccination program has not been straightforward. In addition, the news surrounding risks of vaccination have increased fear and a perception that the risks outweigh the benefits.

Disability providers can encourage staff or people with disabilities who have any concerns about receiving the vaccination to discuss these with their GP or health practitioner.  

Providers can also make use of resources developed by DoH to answer concerns about COVID-19 vaccinations, including:

NDS resources to encourage vaccine uptake and reduce hesitancy include:

  • Getting it done for Disability – 2 short videos with workers and people with lived experience receiving their vaccinations. 
  • Two social scripts for people with Autism developed in partnership with Amaze, the peak body for autism, providing a pictorial story for anyone feeling anxious about booking a vaccination through a GP or high-volume vaccination centre. The story includes first person language and photos to identify all the steps involved with a vaccination in each of these types of settings.  (Link to be added)
  • Podcast-  Dr Anita Munoz,  A Clinical Champion supporting the Victorian Department of Health Anita discusses the importance of getting a vaccination and clear communication to encourage vaccinations in the disability sector.

Were COVID-19 vaccines developed too quickly to be safe?

The COVID-19 vaccines have been developed very quickly, with researchers around the world working hard to develop the vaccines from the earliest stages of the pandemic, and in close collaboration with scientists, manufacturers, and distributors.

The vaccines available in Australia have been approved by meeting the strict standards of Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). The TGA rigorously assessed each one for quality, safety, and efficacy before recommending it to the Australian Government.

For more detailed information on the COVID-19 vaccine approval processes:

This DoH video describes the TGA process of how they assess and approve vaccines.

Are there side effects from the vaccines? 

The side effects of the vaccines vary from one person to another with most people not reporting any at all. 

Most side effects are mild and don’t last for long. This might include pain where you were injected, fever or muscle aches.  Symptoms usually resolve within 24-48 hours and similar to flu-like symptoms.

DoH has information on side effects for Pfizer and AstraZeneca.

See your doctor, nurse, or go directly to the hospital if:

  • you have a reaction that you consider severe or unexpected
  • you are concerned about your condition after vaccination.

A COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effect Checker will assist anyone with concerns after their vaccination, or contact the National Coronavirus Helpline, 1800 020 080, 24 hours a day.

Anyone with concerns about post-vaccine symptoms can also contact the NPS MedicineWise adverse medicine events line, or TGA Home - Adverse event reporting

Other resources:

Does AstraZeneca cause blood clots?

Millions of doses have been administered around the world to adults of all ages with very few serious side effects. However, there has been a link established between the AstraZeneca vaccine and a very rare but serious side effect called thrombosis in combination with thrombocytopenia.

There is an extremely low chance of this side effect, which may occur in around 4-6 people in every million after being vaccinated.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) is responsible for advising the Department of Health on the safety of vaccines available for use in Australia. The group is continually reviewing the data available from other countries regarding vaccine effectiveness and side effects and has released a statement in response to concerns identified and continued confidence in this vaccine as safe and appropriate for use in Australia.

Resources from DoH to help people make informed decisions about the COVID-19 vaccines:

Should people with allergies or pre-existing medical conditions get a COVID-19 vaccination?

People with compromised immune systems or allergies can check the ingredients of the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines on the TGA website. Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines do not contain milk, egg, pork or pork products or latex.

Otherwise, ask a doctor or pharmacist to check the guidance for COVID-19 vaccines in Australia and the Australian Immunisation Handbook for advice. 

The handbook will be updated with information on COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Australia. 

Cancer Australia website has information and frequently asked questions about COVID-19 vaccines for people affected by cancer. The FAQs have been translated into 10 languages. See  Cancer Australia Translated COVID Information 

Pregnant women aged 16 and over are now eligible to receive a Pfizer vaccine. Pregnant women are now considered a priority group in the vaccine rollout and have been moved to phase 1b as they have a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and their babies have a higher risk of being born prematurely. Vaccination is considered the best way to reduce these risks.  

The decision has been based on real-world evidence that shows Pfizer is safe for pregnant women and breastfeeding women with unvaccinated pregnant women identified at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, risk their babies being born prematurely and that a COVID vaccination may provide indirect protection to babies by transferring antibodies through the placenta (for pregnant women) or through breastmilk (for breastfeeding women).

DoH has produced a vaccination decision guide for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning pregnancy.

Follow the ATAGI statements to see the latest clinical advice for the vaccines following weekly COVID-19 meetings.

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Employer and workplace information

How should disability services staff prepare for the onsite COVID-19 vaccination?

Disability workers receiving a vaccination from the in-reach vaccination team must complete the consent form for COVID-19 vaccination, as does every Australian receiving a vaccine.

Providers should encourage staff to complete the form well ahead of the onsite visit, allowing plenty of time for workers to fully understand the information about the vaccines and the brand of vaccine they will be offered, the vaccination schedule and whether they wish to consult with a GP. 

The vaccine provider can refer a staff member to their health practitioner for additional advice if they feel someone does not fully understand the process or still has questions. If this occurs, the staff member will not miss out if they are advised it is safe to proceed, however may need to book with a local vaccine provider.

To find the closest vaccine providers, go to the DoH vaccine eligibility checker

What proof of eligibility will staff need if they go to a vaccination clinic? 

Staff members who are not vaccinated at their workplace, can receive a vaccination from a state or territory vaccination clinic or a pop-up disability vaccine hub.  

They may need to provide evidence of eligibility if they do not meet other eligibility criteria (age) for their state or territory:

  1. Proof of Occupation ID card
  2. Letter from their employer confirming they are currently employed in a disability setting

If neither option above is available, an individual can complete the Vaccine Eligibility Declaration Form in advance and given to the Vaccine Provider at the time of appointment for vaccination.

A Medicare card will also be required in GP clinics. 

Should residential staff be paid to attend an onsite vaccination clinic if they are not rostered for work?

There is currently no information from the DoH regarding staff payments to attend an in-reach vaccination at their worksite or anywhere else to receive their vaccination if they are not rostered to work on the day the vaccinations are being provided.

The COVID-19 vaccine is free for everyone. Anyone who receives this from a GP will be asked for their Medicare card as GPs can bulk bill for their time.  

 Individuals who do not have a Medicare card will still be able to access a free vaccine - eg asylum seekers.

Get ready for your COVID-19 vaccinations - Services Australia

If an employer recommends COVID-19 vaccinations, can staff who experience serious side effects seek compensation?

While the Australian Government strongly supports immunisation, it is not compulsory. Disability sector workers maintain the right to choose whether to receive a vaccination.

The Government is not pursuing a no-fault COVID-19 vaccine injury compensation scheme. Serious side effects are extremely rare. 

Service Providers can only advise staff and people with disabilities to consider having the COVID-19 vaccinations. If they have any concerns regarding side effects and their own health conditions they need to consult with their own GP or through a local clinic to discuss these and make their own informed decision to accept or refuse the COVID-19 vaccination available to them. This is a voluntary decision.

It is not the responsibility of disability providers to address these issues. Identifying where a person can find information that will assist with their decision making and discussion with a GP supports staff and individuals with a disability to access information.   

If staff experience side effects or symptoms after their vaccination, what should they do? 

The DoH Vaccine Taskforce noted in an early Q&A forum with disability providers that anyone who is experiencing symptoms should stay at home. 

Most side effects are mild and don’t last for long. This might include pain where you were injected, fever or muscle aches.  Symptoms usually resolve within 24-48 hours and similar to flu-like symptoms

As common symptoms vary from non-existent through to feeling unwell and needing to rest, individuals will need to make their own judgement regarding staying home, seeking additional medical advice or fitness to attend work as usual.

DoH has information on side effects for Pfizer and AstraZeneca

See your doctor, nurse, or go directly to the hospital if:

  • you have a reaction that you consider severe or unexpected
  • you are concerned about your condition after vaccination.

A COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effect Checker will assist anyone with concerns after their vaccination, or contact the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080, 24 hours a day.

Anyone with concerns about post-vaccine symptoms can also contact the NPS MedicineWise Adverse Medicine Events Line on 1300 134 237, 7 days a week 8.00am - 8.00pm AEST/AEDT  


TGA Home - Adverse event reporting  

Other resources:

Onsite Vaccine Providers will monitor all individuals for 15 minutes after their vaccination.

Disability providers will need to report any adverse reactions by staff or clients that occur following a COVID-19 vaccination provided by the in-reach vaccination team.

Service providers must ensure that staff or people living with disabilities know who to contact for assistance if any changes or concerns in their health occur in the first 24 hours and how to report an adverse event.   

State and Territory Government reporting contact details for any adverse reactions are listed on the SAFEVAC website.

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Do people with symptoms after their vaccination need to have a COVID test?  

The COVID-19 vaccines do not contain the COVID-19 virus. It is impossible to get COVID-19 from these vaccines.  However, the vaccination does not provide immediate protection from COVID-19.

Anyone who reports COVID-19 symptoms in the first 48 hours after their vaccination, such as respiratory symptoms or loss of smell and not identified as typical side effects, is advised to seek a COVID-19 test.

Further information on symptoms is available on the DoH website.

If a disability worker shows COVID-19 symptoms after a vaccination, do we apply suspected COVID protocols?  

In this situation, you would apply relevant suspected COVID-19 case protocols and contact your State or Territory government health department for further advice.

Can a service provider require an employee to provide evidence of receiving vaccinations?

The Fair Work Commission has noted that directing an employee to provide evidence of vaccination is likely to raise privacy issues.

Any worker who has received the COVID-19 vaccination and agrees to provide evidence can access their immunisation record from the Australian Immunisation Register, through their Medicare account on MyGov or through a Unique Healthcare Identifier for anyone who does not have a Medicare account.

The Australian Fair Work Ombudsman website provides information and guidance about coronavirus vaccinations and the workplace for employers and employees.

Will COVID-19 vaccinations be mandated for disability workers?  

In June, the Prime Minister has stated the vaccine will become mandatory for workers in the residential aged care sector. NDS supports this announcement.

NDS has adopted a policy decision in favour of Federal, State or Territory governments mandating that disability direct care workers, regardless of the setting and circumstances of this work, be required to have the COVID-19 vaccination. 

This policy decision has been formed based on sector feedback and with the aim of prioritising the safety of all people with a disability and the disability workforce. National Disability Services: vaccine must be mandatory.

Employers considering mandating the vaccine would need to consider their own legal and workplace industrial agreement perspectives.  

Refer to the Fair Work Commission for updates regarding mandating COVID-19 vaccinations.

Queensland is currently the only state or territory to mandate the requirement for a COVID vaccination for the health sector including health service employees and Queensland ambulance service employees and contractors who may have direct contact with a COVID-19 patient. More details available on the Qld Health website.

Can a service provider specify a COVID-19 vaccination is mandatory for a new employee?

Fair Work Commission states in most circumstances an employer may be able to require a prospective employee to be vaccinated against coronavirus.
Employers should first consider their obligations and responsibilities - for example, under general protections or anti-discrimination laws - before requiring that a prospective employee be vaccinated before commencing employment.

More information on discrimination protections under the Fair Work Act and guidance about COVID-19 vaccinations and the workplace for employers and employees looking for clarity on their workplace rights and obligations is available on the commission’s website.

NDS advises IR and legal advice should always be sought regarding any decisions to include evidence of vaccination status as a prerequisite for specific positions.

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Preparing clients for vaccinations

Eligibility and access

People with disability are eligible to get their COVID-19 vaccine if they:

  • are an NDIS participant aged 16 years or older
  • are living with a significant disability requiring frequent assistance with activities of daily living
  • attend centre-based services (day programs, respite care, supported employment)
  • individuals with a disability, who are not an NDIS participant, must be aged 40 years or over if they do not fit any other eligibility criteria. DoH has produced toolkits to support service providers working in aged care and in disability residential settings. 


COVID-19 vaccination – Disability service providers toolkit
COVID-19 vaccine aged care readiness toolkit

The toolkits include a range of fact sheets, checklists, information for providers, how to organise consent in advance, what to expect before, during and 
after the in-reach vaccination team has been on site.

Other resources to support staff and people with disabilities to prepare for their vaccinations, including consent related documents, are included in these FAQs.

Support workers and carers

Support workers, carers (paid and unpaid) and volunteers are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine if they directly support people with disability of any age:

  • in the person’s home
  • at a disability residential service,
  • at a respite facility
  • in an educational setting,
  • at a supported employment setting,
  • with accessing leisure or community facilities
  • with transport or advocacy services

Carers of National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants (paid and unpaid) are eligible for vaccination.

You will need to provide carers documentation or proof of occupation (ID card, letter from employer or Eligibility Declaration Form) to prove eligibility.

Eligible people under these requirements may also include healthcare workers, allied health workers, teachers in special schools, students on placement, advocates, or administration or maintenance/cleaning staff in these settings.

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Consent for people requiring decision making support

How do we organise informed consent for people living with a disability who require support with decision-making? 

To the extent that they are able, a person with disability should always be included in any decision that involves them, especially regarding their own health.

The NDIS Commission has released resources to assist with the process of gaining consent. Service providers are asked to give participants appropriate time to digest information and for participants to involve others in the decision-making process, if they wish.

Refer to the NDIS COVID-19 vaccine fact sheet: Informed consent, preparing for the vaccine, restrictive practices.

DoH has produced resources to assist disability providers, carers and people with disabilities understand the process for giving informed consent to receiving a COVID-19 vaccination:

The legislation on consent and who can be a substitute decision-maker varies in states and territories, with each being bound by their own legislation.

Organisations that will assist in each state and territory are listed below:

ACT: Support for People with Disability, ACT Community Services
NSW: NSW Trustee and Guardian 
NT: NT COVID-19 Vaccine roll-out
QLD: Office of the Public Guardian: Consent process for COVID-19 vaccination 
SA: Australian Government Information for people with disability about COVID-19 vaccines
TAS: Australian Government Information for people with disability about COVID-19 vaccines
VIC: Guideline on the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine - Office of the Public Advocate
WA: Making Treatment Decisions information from the Public Advocate

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Useful resources

Where can we locate vaccine information in other languages or in formats that are easier to understand? 

A range of resources and information have been developed to meet a variety of accessible needs. We have included these in sections related to their target audiences below. 

General resources

Disability providers can access useful resources they can use to inform and support their clients, staff, families, carers and volunteers to make a decision regarding the COVID-19 vaccination program. Feeling well-informed and safe will assist in reducing the level of vaccine hesitancy in the disability sector.

Rollout phases and eligibility 

The Australian Department of Health has a webpage with COVID-19 vaccine information and resources to help disability service providers plan for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

Resources include:

More COVID-19 information is available on the DoH website in:

Decision making guides and consent  

Consent – Information for providers from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI)  is a 12-page guidance for immunisation providers for gaining informed consent to COVID-19 vaccination, and answers to some frequently asked clinical questions.

Other guidance materials from ATAGI include:

Quick Links – vaccinations

As a result of the continual updating of state and territory vaccine rollout operations, the links to their separate websites are provided for access to current information.

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